Cool Tool: Here's A Cheap Jump Start Battery Pack That Actually Works

Illustration for article titled Cool Tool: Here's A Cheap Jump Start Battery Pack That Actually Works
Image: Mercedes Streeter

Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at the ChassisEAR to pinpoint worrisome noises, the extension wrench that loosens bolts in tight areas and the tap socket to restore damaged threads. This week’s cool tool is a cheap jump-start battery pack that won’t die after the first use.

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This suggestion comes from my own toolbox. It’s a tiny unit of a jump starter that has saved me from so much frustration with dead batteries. This is one of those tools that I thought that I never needed. But now, I do not leave the house without one. It’s ideal for people working from home during the pandemic who may find that their car’s battery is dead exactly when they’ve finally ventured out to take a drive — a problem I have faced so many times in recent months.

The old-school solution to a run-down battery is grabbing a second vehicle and a set of jumper cables, but that may not always be possible. That’s where a jump pack saves the day. But the super cheap ones may work just a couple of times before conking out. I was given a cheap jump start pack for Christmas one year, and it was able to fire up a Smart Fortwo only a single time before breaking. Is there a cheap one that actually works?

In my experience, the THOR 1000 jump start battery pack does the job.

Illustration for article titled Cool Tool: Here's A Cheap Jump Start Battery Pack That Actually Works
Photo: Mercedes Streeter

I paid for it myself, and I’m happy to say that it works as advertised. It has an 8600mAh/31.8WH capacity with a 600-amp rating. I tried it on a number of my vehicles; it will start everything but the school bus.

Using it is easy. Plug the cables into the pack and place the clamps on the appropriate posts of the car’s battery. Now, just hit the vehicle’s ignition and let it rip! For a test, I put a dead battery into one of my Smarts to see if the THOR 1000 could crank the engine. The car immediately leaped to life — it started like it had a new battery.

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Photo: Mercedes Streeter

I got a second one when I recently bought this Triumph Tiger 855i. Since the motorcycle’s battery was dead, the pack was crucial in getting me home safely.

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Photo: Mercedes Streeter

It’s advertised to start gas engines up to 4.0 liters in displacement and diesels up to 2.0 liters. I used it to jump start my fiancée’s 5.2-liter V8 Dodge Dakota and it did the job OK.

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The THOR 1000 battery pack costs about $40 at sites like Amazon.

These jump start battery packs are so good that I think everyone should have one on hand, even people who don’t wrench on their own vehicles. There is an awesome variety online, and most come with additional features like a flashlight and the ability to charge many phones.

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Do you know of a weird or unique but must-have tool that every wrencher should have? Do you want to see us put a type of tool to the test and see how it performs? Shoot me an email or drop it down in the comments!

Staff Writer at Jalopnik and learning pilot. Loves all vehicles! Smart Fortwo (x4), Honda Beat, Suzuki Every, AmTran Bus, VW Jetta TDI (x2), Audi TT, Buell Lightning, Triumph Tiger, Genuine Stella...

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